Lessons learned from breast cancer

. February 3, 2017.
Dina Sheldon of A2 Yoga opens up about cancer
Dina Sheldon of A2 Yoga opens up about cancer

Cancer. It’s one of those words with hard consonants that has the power to send a chill down your spine. Cancer is the name of a storm that many people have weathered. Chemotherapy, a biopsy and one bilateral mastectomy later, Dina Sheldon looks in her rear view to describe the wreckage.

Dina Sheldon, owner of A2 Yoga, and a yoga teacher coming from a long line of educators says she honestly is able to look at her cancer as a learning experience. And like a good teacher, she wants to educate people on what she’s learned.

Myth: Only certain people can get cancer
“If you’re a man, woman, white, black, yellow, healthy, if you smoke if you don’t smoke, if you’re a vegetarian, if you’re not, anyone has the potential to have a cancer in the body someday,” Dina said.

Myth: Higher cancer stages mean more likely to die.
“Stages are not indicative of survival rates. I absolutely recommend getting second and third opinions. If the doctors are saying things that are making you concerned about life and longevity, get a fourth opinion. This is your life. This is not something to be scared about; it is something to be aware of,” she said.

Myth: Cancer patients must maintain a positive attitude
“Cancer isn’t someone’s fault. When you say [have a positive attitude] to someone with cancer. You are shifting a level of blame and a level of success onto them,” she said. “How can I have a positive attitude? I have drains sticking out of me and things coming out of orifices that I didn’t even know I had.” She adds some advice to go with this, “There are other ways to help people with their attitude. What are ways that you can fuse that feel good feeling?”

Tip: To lift someone’s mood…
“A small gift could be really nice. Sometimes leaving soft socks and fuzzy pants by the door is a blessing. These are other ways to lift their mood. If you know that my favorite color is green, and you pick up a card and draw green hearts on it and a salad and leave it by my door.”

Tip: Assemble your team
“Start to put together a care team of friends and family,” she said. And that may not be exactly who you would expect. She remarks that herself and others that she talked to in her support group all had the experience that some people that were really present in your life may disappear and others would come out of the woodwork to help.

Tip: (For Caregivers): Volunteer in some caregiving capacity
Dina recommends getting practice maybe with the elderly, children or even volunteering with animals or at an animal nursery-just practicing caring for something.

For Dina, yoga is something she draws strength from.

For Dina, yoga is something she draws strength from.

Find your inner source

This is an idea that Dina comes back to many times. She explains that cancer awakens a certain level of “heightened awareness” and that can bring into sharp focus the core of someone. Sometimes someone’s nature is tenacious, sarcastic and sassy and she suggests that if that is your nature or inner source, then use that aggressive energy to cope, “Everyone deals with it differently. Each body is so different. With love, we are as unique as our fingerprints.”

For Dina, yoga is something she draws strength from. She wasn’t always well enough to practice certain poses during the treatment, but something she embodied. “Yoga becomes a living breathing entity and how you incorporate it into your life. It’s a way of being,” she said. She adds that considering yoga has been around for 5000 years that “It’s valid and reliable at this point.”

Find your strength

One of the metaphors that Dina uses to describe cancer is a big yard with a fence down the middle. She says now she is on the other side of that fence, but it is always possible to go back. It suggests states of being.

“Cancer taps into your essence of being. When you find your strength, it expands your horizon it expands the possibility of what you can get through and how you can deal with it. Words have meaning. If we give cancer the meaning is life or death, if we give it power then we reduce that power in ourselves. So why are we giving it that power?”

World Cancer Day is February 4, A2 Yoga is hosting an informative workshop for those facing or affected by cancer.

Saturday, February 4. 6:30pm. $35
A2 Yoga Studio, 2030 Commerce Rd, Ann Arbor
734-216-4006 | a2yoga.org


Domino’s Farms Aids Ann Arbor’s Need for Office Space

Domino’s Pizza and Arbor Research are both launching new office building projects at Domino’s Farms. Domino’s Pizza is creating a 33,000-square-foot building on the north side of Domino’s Farms, expanding to their current space. Arbor Research is creating a new 49,500-square-foot headquarters building on the east side of Domino’s Farms. Both buildings should be completed

A Physician’s Perspective on Legalized Cannabis

On Tuesday, November 6th, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Ten years ago, we had become the 13th state to legalize Cannabis for medical use. I voted for the medical cannabis law years ago because, in my view, cannabis is not a dangerous product, and too many people were being imprisoned for its use. At that time, however, I did not subscribe to the argument that there were legitimate medical uses for cannabis. How things have changed.

Tiny Expo at Ann Arbor District Library—A Curated Holiday Gift Fair with Flair

The Tiny Expo is a gem of an indie arts and crafts fair for vendors with original and unexpected products that make wonderful gifts but may not be an obvious fit for Ann Arbor’s mainstream art fairs. Shoppers who crave artistic, high quality products with diverse price points will find a rich variety of unique, handmade products to choose from.

New Tenants in Downtown Ypsilanti

Formerly long-vacant buildings in Downtown Ypsilanti are experiencing revitalization as small businesses and nonprofits are rapidly filling up spaces. Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP), a nonprofit organization that, “provides access to the justice systems for those that need it most,” recently purchased the Smith Furniture building at 15 S Washington Street which became their headquarters. Decode